Military Affairs

Timeline1Timeline2
Points of Pride

The University of North Carolina Wilmington was founded in 1947 as a way to help returning GIs pursue their education and transition back into civilian life. It was then that UNCW established one of its founding values: service to our military. Veterans provided immediate leadership for Wilmington College. Four of the nine university presidents or chancellors who have served UNCW have served. Fifteen of the main academic or administrative buildings or roadways on the main campus are named after veterans. As the university celebrates its 70th anniversary, take a look back at how the dedicated service of these former Seahawks helped shape the future of UNCW.

1949: John Hoggard (1876–1965) served in the Spanish- American War attached to Teddy Roosevelt’s regiment in Cuba. He also completed a tour of duty during World War I. He held the position of chairman of the Board of Education in New Hanover County from 1935 to 1952 when Wilmington College emerged under its control. Dr. Hoggard served as the second president of Wilmington College from 1949 to 1958 and established the Hoggard Medal of Achievement Award, given to the student who shows the most improvement during their years at UNCW. One of the three original buildings on the College Road campus is named in his honor. 

1959: William Madison Randall (1899–1984) was the third president of Wilmington College (1958–68). During World War II, he was attached to the War Department, stationed in Cairo, Egypt. Randall became part of the growing Wilmington College, first as a dean and then as chief administrator. He is credited with the development of the university’s seal and motto (discere aude), which is still used today. The campus library is named in his honor. 

1963: During World War II, William DeLoach (1910–1999) served as a first lieutenant with the U.S. Public Health Services. He arrived at Wilmington College in 1963 as its first doctoral-holding chemistry professor. Through his generous financial support, UNCW awards a scholarship to an outstanding student in chemistry as well as the Will S. DeLoach Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Chair. His legacy of academic commitment remains in the building that bears his name. 

1968: William H. Wagoner (1927–1999) served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946. He earned degrees from Wake Forest University, East Carolina University and UNC Chapel Hill. He arrived in Wilmington in 1961 to become superintendent of New Hanover County Schools. In 1968, he accepted the position of president at Wilmington College, and when it became part of the UNC system, he was elevated to the position of chancellor. During his tenure (1969–90), Wilmington College officially became UNCW, the basic organizational structure of the university was established and the foundation was laid for UNCW’s pre-eminence in marine science. Wagoner Drive and Wagoner Hall are tributes to his accomplishments during his 40-year career. 

1969: John Jay Burney Jr. (1924–2010) served as a staff sergeant in the 254th Infantry, Company A, 63rd Division of the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945. For his service in Europe he received the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf and the Bronze Star, along with several French Decorations. He went on to become the solicitor (district attorney) of the 8th District from 1953 to 1962. Later, as a North Carolina State Senator (1967–72), he introduced the bill to the General Assembly (1969) authorizing Wilmington College to become part of the University of North Carolina system. Because of his dedication as an outstanding citizen, attorney and advocate of UNCW, the Student Support Center was named in his honor. 

1974: William C. Friday (1920–2012) served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves during World War II. He served as president of the university system for 30 years, from 1956 to 1986. During his tenure, he championed UNCW’s role in marine science. Friday Hall is named in honor of this President Emeritus. 

1978: The Honorable Addison Hewlett (1912–89) was born in the Masonboro Sound area, the seventh generation of his family raised there. He was a veteran of World War II, and carried a small pouch of Masonboro Sound soil with him to Europe. Hewlett, a graduate of Wake Forest College and Law School, served as a member of the State House of Representatives (1951–59) and as speaker of the house in 1959. In the 1960s, it was with his persuasion that the State Budget Committee included funding for Wilmington College. Hewlett was a member of the Wilmington College (1963–67) and UNCW Board of Trustees (1973–81). He is the first person to receive the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from UNCW. Because of his ardent support over the years, Hewlett Hall is named in his honor. 

1984: UNCW U.S. Army ROTC Program Begins 

1988: William J. “Bill” Brooks (1922–2010), a native of Wilson, NC, was a veteran of World War II. He began working at Wilmington College in 1951, serving as its first athletic director, head baseball coach, head basketball coach, and chair of the health and physical education department. He is widely credited with the establishment of the athletic program at the university, taking the Seahawks from their early junior college beginnings to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and, finally, to NCAA Division I status. Brooks Field honors his dedication. 

Bruce Barclay Cameron (1917–2013) graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1938. He volunteered for the U.S. Army in 1941, then served as a general’s aide in Fort Bliss, Texas, before being posted in New Guinea during World War II. He left the service with the rank of major. When he returned to Wilmington, he became president of McMillian and Cameron and continued a lifetime of work in real estate and civic affairs. 

Daniel David Cameron (1921–2005) graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1942 with a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served in the European Theater during World War II, arriving at Normandy Beach on D-Day+3. He left the service with the rank of major. When he returned to Wilmington, he became involved in civic life, serving as mayor, and helped form the Wilmington Industrial Development to encourage economic development. Cameron School of Business was named for Dan and his brother, Bruce, in 1979, and Cameron Hall was named in their honor in 1988. 

Harold Greene (1914–97) was born in Rhode Island, and came to North Carolina after serving in World War II. Greene became a business leader through his hotel ownership along the eastern seaboard. As a real estate entrepreneur, he contributed to Brunswick County’s growth by developing Boiling Springs Lakes and serving as the town’s first mayor. Greene also held membership on the Committee of 100 and the Wilmington Executive Board. The Greene Track and Field Complex opened in 1988. 

1989: James Marshall Crews (1919–2010) was born in McKenzie, TN, and graduated from Bethel College in 1942. He was stationed at Camp Davis in Onslow County then was assigned to the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1948, he became one of the first faculty members at the newly formed Wilmington College. Over the years, he held several positions – registrar, assistant dean, admissions director, academic dean – but served longest as dean of students. In 1984, he wrote the first history of the college, From These Beginnings; Wilmington College, 1946–1969. Crews Drive was named for him in 1989. He was an integral part of the Wilmington College Alumni Chapter and was the first faculty member recognized by the UNCW Alumni Association Past Chairs’ Council, which named the J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award in his honor. 

1990: James Leutze is Chancellor Emeritus of UNC Wilmington (1990–2003). He served in the United States Air Force and attained the rank of captain. Leutze became the fifth administrator of UNCW since 1947. Under his dynamic tenure the university documented a rapid rise in enrollment, increased endowments and numerous faculty additions, positioning UNCW as one of the top 10 universities in the South. Leutze Hall stands in recognition of his 13 years of support and leadership for the university. 

1991: UNCW alumna Lt. Phoebe Jeter ’87 is the only female to lead a platoon that destroyed SCUD missiles during Desert Storm in Iraq. 

1994: Donald R. Watson (1926–1994) served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Watson made significant financial contributions to the university to advance the teaching profession and public education. To recognize his generosity and commitment to education in 1994, the university dedicated the Donald R. Watson College of Education. The Watson Distinguished Professorship was established the same year. 

1996: Robert “Bob” Ridgely Dobo (1929–2009), a World War II veteran who served in the Coast Guard, attended Wilmington College in 1950. He and his brother, Gabriel William “Bill” Dobo, established two private water and sewer companies, which contributed to the growth of New Hanover County. Bob and his wife, Dorothy Gray Dobo, established the Dobo Endowment with a $2.5 million contribution. Dobo Hall, a science building on campus, is named in the honor of the couple as well as his brother and his wife, Barbara Beckwith Dobo. 

Gabriel William “Bill” Dobo (1927–2013), a World War II veteran who served in the Coast Guard, graduated from Wilmington College in 1951. He was a successful business owner and inventor who developed one of the most innovative gem-cutting machines in the world. Beckwith Recital Hall in the Cultural Arts Building is named in honor of Bill’s wife, Barbara Beckwith Dobo. In 2013, the couple’s family established a $2.5 million endowment in their honor. 

2000: Dr. James D. Hundley, an orthopedic specialist, lends his name to the Student Education Resource Center in the Student Recreation Center. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1975. After returning to southeastern North Carolina, he became the UNC Wilmington athletic team physician (1976–98). Dr. Hundley is also an adjunct professor with the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at UNCW. 

UNCW's Military History

In his book, From These Beginnings, about the founding of UNCW, J. Marshall Crews states that "On September 4, 1947, at 4 p.m., Wilmington College, with seventeen faculty members, opened the doors to 238 students, seventy-five percent of whom were veterans." Since that time, UNCW has become one of the leading universities in the southeast and maintains a deep tradition of educating and collaborating with local military personnel - both active-duty and retired - and their families. more...

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